Dad’s ties

I remember Dad having a lot of ties. I would peek into his closet and see them all hanging up side-by-side in a neat row. I would pinch one gently between my thumb and finger and run my hand down, feeling the silky, slippery cloth. Sometimes there would be bumps and textures depending on the pattern. There were lots of colours, too. A dark-ish rainbow that matched his suits perfectly.

Sometimes, after Dad came home and loosened the tie around his neck, I’d ask him if I could wear it. “Sure,” he always said with a smile. He would take it off and place the big loop over my head. He would gently make it smaller around my neck until the material barely brushed my skin. I could smell his aftershave. Always a happy, comforting scent of home.

If I was lucky, Dad would come home from work carrying suits from the dry cleaners. He would lift off the thin, clear plastic and start tying it in knots. When he pulled the first knot as tight as he could, a bubble would emerge. I’d place my hand over it and squeeze. POP! We’d laugh. Then he would tie another knot, pull it as tight as he could, and another bubble would appear. And I’d squeeze it. POP! Over and over again until what was once a wispy sheet of plastic became a tired-looking ball of knots. I don’t know how many bubbles I popped per sheet of drycleaning plastic, but Dad was patient enough to keep tying knots until the ends were too small to make any more.

No matter how many times I watched Dad tie a tie, I could never get it quite right. Not that Dad was a bad teacher. But maybe because at some level I wanted him to always tie it for me.

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